Aftermath part 2

"When he arrived, we wished we would have known what had come, for it could have saved us all the sooner." ~ Book one, Chapter one of the Overlord and the Shield.

Fitoria immediately took on a defensive stance as the explosive sound of shattering glass echoed through the grassy plain. Looking up, taking her eyes off the skeleton for a moment, she was met with an odd sight;the sky had broken, cracked, split apart, and somehow managed to move either side of itself without warping the space.

"That's not good," Ainz Ooal Gown said, catching her attention. Unlike herself who had reacted by looking up at the oddity, his skeletal face was looking to the left, his soul-fire eyes focused and intent.

She followed his line of sight and frowned, how had she managed to miss that? She'd sensed the creature he'd summoned from half a continent away but this close to such destruction and it hadn't registered at all? Why? In the distance, barely four kilometers, a large pillar of molten orange-white light had sprung up from the highest tower of Melromarc's castle and pierced into the sky, bleeding into its surroundings and somehow making the night sky darker, destruction raining down on the city in the form on unfathomable heat and moltan stone.

A moment later the sound reached her, the crack of an explosion loud enough to make her cringe away, quickly followed by the furious, continuous roar of concentrated hellfire.

She stood there watching as the pillar of magic began to fade, shrinking inward upon itself until it was gone, drawn back to wherever it came from. The only indication of it having existed in the first was what was left of the high tower, a flat slab of stone glowing violently even at this distance.

"What was that?" Fitoria asked, glaring at him incredulously.

"Someone trying to spy without permission. They triggered my divination protection, causing that." He pointed to the castle then began to distort and shimmer.

His skeletal form disappeared and was replaced by his previous dark plate equipment, the small silver shield repairing on his right arm no longer covered by the fabric of his long too dark gown.

"I need to go assess the damage, but we do need to talk," he paused, then opened another one of those odd portals.

"I assume you know where my fortress is?" Ainz Ooal Gown asked, waving her forward.

She nodded, "I do. It is quite obvious."

He sighed, she didn't understand how he managed that, he didn't even have lungs… but somehow the tiny gesture gave her a sense of relief, did that mean that there was still something left of his humanity?

She shook her head, questions for later. "This will take us back to the balcony?" She asked.

"No, the main gate." He clarified. "I'm unsure of the integrity of the balcony. Even if it was destroyed I doubt you or I would have problems dropping from heights but this is more… sensible."

She wanted to roll her eyes because, as far as she was concerned, all sensibility was thrown out the proverbial window not twelve hours ago. Sensible was not summoning a creature whose mere presence was felt across the planet after punching a hole through the world barrier risking the possible awakening of something she could barely handle. Sensible was not whatever that was…

She breathed out and tried to banish her consternation. Now that she had a slight inclination with what she was dealing with, fighting this creature — however brief that may be — could put more lives at risk. Not to mention her weariness of that thing inside his chest. No, talking was the better option.

Nodding to herself, she paced toward the gate and walked through it, stepping out onto a cobble-paved roadway. Looking around briefly she wasn't surprised by what she stepped into. Disaster, a complete and utter disaster. Screams and moans echoed into the air from the city below. Stone and bits of tower littered the roadway, and the once beautiful flower gardens and hedges were brown, dehydrated, and dead from the heat.

"It seems I'll have to revise my opinion further," Ainz said, placing a giant but gentle hand on her shoulder. It was an innocent gesture meant to nudge her aside but it caused a wave of overwhelming fear to flow through her, jolting her stiff. She had felt it before, echoes of something powerful squeezing their way through whatever barrier he'd set up but this, this was a full connection, its full might bearing down on her; it was so powerful, so overwhelming, so crushing in its enormity that the gentle hand felt as if it were several worlds pushing on her shoulder. Then something brushed her mind and she understood at that moment that what she felt before was only its presence against the world itself, this was its mind, colossal but rudimentary, yet not fully formed, and savage like a rabid dragon.

Something was deposited into her awareness with the subtlety of an exploding volcano, forming three barely coherent words that boomed into her mind. "KEEP MASTER SAFE!"

The words reverberated a thousand times in her mind over and over and over again. It had no form within her mind but she tried to push back against it, and the effort only seemed to anger it further causing it to lean in ignoring her futile attempts and roaring. "KEEEEEEP MAAAAASSSSSTTTTERRRR SAAAA-"

Then it cut off suddenly as his hand moved away from her, having pushed her a few steps to the left so he could fully move from the gate. She felt something trickle down the side of her cheek. Reaching up, she caught it and inspected her finger. A single tear sat there wobbling unsteadily as her hand shook. Was this fear that she felt? It seemed to be foreign a concept now. She hadn't felt it in so long, possibly centuries, not truly not like this, tiny and terrified.

She attempted to dismiss it with a quick flick of her wrist, trying to steady herself and tried to remember what he was saying again. "I'm sorry, of who?"

"Whatever idiots' idea it was to spy on me. I've let slip on multiple occasions that spying on me would be a horrible mistake, surely you can't blame me for this?"

"Not entirely, but I do suspect it's partially my fault,"

"How so?"

"I rarely appear in human society, even less so in a king's ballroom during a party."

"I see," he said, then looked to contemplate something. "Believe it or not I've had similar things happen to me, but they usually involve a lot more running and screaming."

She raised an eyebrow at that, then looked to the castle proper, then back to him.

"Point taken." He admitted, somehow managing to deflate visibly despite his unchanged height. "I'll attempt to clean up this mess and then meet you at my fortress, it shouldn't be more than an hour."

Taking it as a dismissal, she gave him a small nod as her carriage pulled up towed by several rows of colorful filolials, most of them shivering in fear and shying away from the disguised skeleton, one of them at the back even squawked at her, demanding she hurry up. She glared at the bird and its fear seemed to shift from the retreating hero to her.

She quietly stepped into the carriage and sat down comfortably on the soft white leather seats, opened a {Portal}, and began to think.

Tonight she had behaved so unlike herself. Under normal circumstances had she found a threat such as she did today she would have killed it without a second thought, but every instinct she had told her that doing so would have been a massive mistake, now she understood why…

Ainz sighed, partially in relief but mostly because he was walking towards another problem to sort out. What were they thinking? He could understand the feeling of wanting to observe the rare and the unseen but why risk what was essentially suicide for it…

His only consolation was his decision earlier last week to change the retaliation spell from [Nuclear Blast] to [Vermillion Nova] for this very reason, destruction was guaranteed but at least it wouldn't be on the scale of a small city. He quickly banished the thought as he stopped, turned, and looked out upon the city that was burning…

"Likely from molten tower raining back down," he thought dryly.

Reluctantly he reached into his inventory and pulled out a curled golden staff that twisted up into seven snakes, a single pristine gem for each color of the rainbow within their mouths. While only a replica of the staff of Ainz Ooal Gown - which was thankfully in safe hands back on the eighth floor of Nazarick - it still had its uses.

He focused on the blue gem and began pushing mana into it through the staff causing it to glow dully in the shadows of the castle. The shield began to complain as he pointed the staff to the ground where a magic circle formed and disappeared, replaced by a viscous blue being whose form scarcely resembled that of a human woman with a healthy figure.

He quickly summoned seven more [Lesser Water Elementals] using all its charges for the day, placed the staff back into his inventory, then pulled out a tiny unassuming rectangular wooden box with an engraved loudspeaker top. Normally he'd use this to address an entire region within his empire but as it was no longer connected to the system this little box would only be able to reach all those within seven hundred meters, which should be enough, he hoped.

"I feel like this will come back to bite me later." He thought and held the box to his mouth then began to speak. "This is the shield hero Ain- Suzuki Satoru speaking. No, you are not going insane. To begin, I apologize to you for what has happened tonight. This was my doing but not of my will, to explain what that means would take too long, time that others do not have so I will simply say this; I am unsure as to why my divination protections were triggered tonight but it seems that curiosity has gotten the better of the children presiding inside the castle. To those in the City who can hear this, I am sending help to contain any fires, they should arrive shortly, they may look odd but be rest assured they are there to help, direct them as you need. As for the wounded, bring them to the castle and I will heal them personally, the guards will not stop you."

Pausing briefly, he sent a set of mental commands to the elementals, ordering them to "spread out" "start putting out fires" and "follow non-violent instructions". With that done he continued speaking, this time with a message.

"To Aultcrey, yes I know you can hear this. You are reaching the end of my restraint which in a way is commendable, in all my years only less than ten have managed to achieve that goal and only one of them is still alive. I can only guess at the reasons you have done what you have, what could have been running through your mind when you thought it a good idea to bomb your own capital but at a point, I realized it would be inane, it is impossible to understand the mind of the insane and I will leave it at that."

Now how should he handle this… He was mad, furious, so much so that his emotional suppression had been going off constantly since he left the field. Over the years he'd learned to slowly deal with his rage by internalizing it and letting it simmer in a slow boil. In the last twenty years, he'd only let it slip out on two occasions, the second day of his stay on this world and the day the Shailic Empire killed Sebas Tian, who was serving as a diplomat at the time.

Was he that mad today? He decided that no, he wasn't, but he was pissed enough to let it be known that he was indeed pissed off, so with a slow methodical right hand he reach up to his left gauntlet, turned it with a clink and withdrew it from his skeletal hand revealing four rings of immaculate design. He removed the one restricting his magical aura and for added drama activated [Despair Aura I] then started forward again, placing his gauntlet back on.

Eventually, he turned into the hallway that led to the palace's ballroom and faced down a small army of soldiers and knights gathered in loose groups, their trident spears pointed to the roof. He'd wondered where the palace guards had gone, by the looks of it most of them had retreated back to here, now the question was were they here for him or the wave of people that would be sure to arrive?

It didn't matter he kept walking. The man closest to him finally noticed his approach, tensed, and barked an order to form ranks. Ainz found himself impressed by the speed and discipline they showed as they formed into six rows of six with elevated archers positions in the last row. Each of them looked angry, determined, and eager.

The moment his' aura' hit them was apparent, their eagerness died, their determination faulted, their anger drained, and was turned to fear. Some wisely moved aside but the man at the front did not move, he had gone pale but his determination sat on his face like an old trophy displayed with pride.

He stepped forward and held his spear in a firm threatening stance. Ainz ignored him and cast [Dimensional Move] teleporting past the line of archers who reacted as much as he suspected; jumping forward in a dash and right into the back of the sword-wielding knights that had only just begun to turn.

Ainz calmly opened the large door to a quiet room that stared at him with fearful expressions. He glanced to his left at the chard corpse littering the floor, then to the balcony where nothing but ashes and shadows remained. "Where is he?" He asked, looking around. He turned and locked the door, then noticed something, or a distinct lack of something, where was Raphtalia?

No one spoke up so he asked again, more forcefully. Bellowing his question. "Where is he?!"

He continued to stare at the group of shivering nobles until eventually a plump middle-aged man in black formal wear stepped forward, adjusted his blue cravat, and spoke, his voice dignified yet pained. "Hi-his Majesty left with his Holiness, the Lord Heroes, and your companion mere moments before the castle was struck, where they are we do not know."

"I see," Ainz said, and relaxed his aura of despair and put up an [information wall] for his oppressive mana aura. The shaking man standing before him was familiar in his memory, he'd never met him before, of that he was certain. Perhaps a report… he attempted to look back through his memory and vaguely remembered a report from 1 on the nobles of the Queen's court. If he recalled correctly, this man; Lord Rathmin Khothar, now led a small consortium of Noble's that wished coexistence with the nearby demi-human countries and acted in court trying to keep Melromarc on a path to that eventual possibility.

"You are Rathmin Khothar, correct?" Ainz asked.

The man frowned and then nodded. "I am he. If I may ask, how is it you know my identity? I, nor anyone present," he gestured to the huddled group of nobles. "Have ever made your personal acquaintance?"

"Information I would rather keep to myself, but you may assume I know the true names of everyone in this room," Ainz said and had to stifle a chuckle as some paled at that little piece of information. "Over the years I've learned to keep my enemies closer than my friends. Are there any injured among you?"

The man seemed taken aback, and unsure about the sudden shift in conversation. "Ah hmm. A few severe burns, but my daughter, while spared from burns, looked directly at your spell, she is blind my Lord."

Ainz nodded, glad to be given proper respect for once then reached behind the cape of his armor, into his inventory, and pulled out a small glass vial filled with a red liquid that slightly glowed.

The noble took a step back as it was brought to view and pointed to the vial. "Is that-

"No, it's not blood," Ainz said, his tone annoyed. This must have been the thousand and first time someone had pointed out the rather unfortunate similarity to human blood. Sighing he spoke calmly, holding the vial between his thumb and index finger. If this went the way he wanted he had a potential ally in the court to mold to his needs. "This is a powerful healing potion. A drop in each of your daughters' eyes will heal them completely, after that there should be enough to ease the pain of all here."

"Not heal them, my lord?" Rathmin asked, his face curling slightly in confusion.

"No, that vile won't be enough for everyone, " Ainz said. "I assume you heard my message?" In reply the man nodded, his confusion retreating somewhat.

"There will be no small amount of people on their way here, could I ask you and your group to sort them into camps, least to the most injured preferably? When I return I will see to your injuries first, of course."

"I see and while I attend the commoners you intend to talk to Altcrey in some manner?"

"If he was responsible for this mess I intend to beat him."

"Truly?" One of the women asked before Rathmin could respond.

"Yes," Ainz declared, continuing to observe the lead Noble man who shivered slightly. "I do not recognize his rule, and if my correspondence with Lady Mirellia is to be believed neither does she, he wasn't even supposed to be sitting on the throne during her absence."

"You have spoken with her majesty?!" The same woman asked enthusiastically, pushing her way to the front of the group, her eyes glazed milky white.

"Through envoy, yes, Lady Khothar."

"Surely you cannot expect us to believe your words, devil!" Another nasally voiced noble exclaimed. Young, red-brown hair and wore what seemed to be the going formal wear of dignified fashion these days, his white buttoned suit and blue cravat contrasted that of Rathmin's rather well. Rashik Talarn was his name, a noble of very low standing and a fanatic of the Three Heroes' Church.

"Certainly not Lord Rashik, though I don't think they will reveal themselves at this time, the Queen's shadow hiding amongst you will confirm this." At his words the already parting group seemed to spread out from one another further, dutifully speed walking away or for the younger nobles staying where they were, unsure of which direction was safe.

Whatever Rashik said next was ignored as a set of alarms sounded within his mind. The three shadow demons he had watching the Queen just died, but it was the fourth and closest that worried him most. Raphtalia's shadow was dead…

"If you will excuse me, l will need to be going," Ainz announced and paced towards the door to his right.

"How inept are you? The first sign of challenge to your words and you run like some coward."

Ainz turned to regard the small crowd, said. "I've just received word that Altcrey is about to do something very stupid."

"And that would be?" Rathmin asked, seemingly unsurprised.

"Reach the end of my restraint," Ainz said and left the room.

"Her demon is gone. Do it again!" The old man shouted looking down at her with those dark, uncaring eyes.

She snarled at him, eyes filled with hatred as immense pain shot through her body starting from the purple mark placed on her bare chest. This was nothing, it meant nothing. The pain she had been through before made this seem like the tickle of a feather. She did not scream or even jolt in her restraints as she continued to glare daggers at the old man, she wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

Suzuki would come, she was sure of it now that the thing that was hiding in her shadow was killed. It fought well, whatever it was, taking out several guards and injuring several more before it was killed by a bright light.

The pain stopped and the man asked his question again, the only one he seemed to have. "What is the devil's relationship with the Queen of filolials?!"

Her only answer was a dismissive shrug, she had no idea what he was talking about. The queen of the filolials? Her parents had told her about it once during a bedtime story, but she couldn't quite remember it…

A knock came from the metal door to her left causing the old man to approach. He slid the slot open and stared into the harsh eyes of another man who spoke in a hushed tone that she could barely make out. "…vil sighted… lyness… to retreat…"

She got the gist and smiled to herself. The old mustached man looked at her, grit his teeth, and waved at the five other men in the room. The first four moved from their spots in the corners and marched with refined steps toward the door, not even giving her the dignity of a passing glance.

Finally, the old man and the one standing behind her left and she was left alone again, locked in a cell again bound to an uncomfortable chair that by her estimate was somehow a part of the room itself, in fact the whole room seemed to be one structure, what was the point of that?

Minutes passed, she didn't know how many, the quiet dark made the time pass oddly but eventually, something happened. A shiver ran up her entire body from head to toe. Everything that was her became aware that danger was approaching and it was MAD! Stiff yet at the same time feeling somehow relaxed because she knew this feeling, she tried to pull out of the leather straps binding her to the chair. Realizing that this was going to get her nowhere she shouted. "Suzuki, I'm in here!"

The anger disappeared for a moment, then redoubled again as it reappeared in front of the door. A moment later she heard the crack of stone and the ever-distinct sound of scraping metal as the fingertips of a gauntleted hand pieced the top of the door frame. The thick cold metal door screamed fleetingly like some pained dying animal then suddenly stopped and disintegrated into wisps of black smoke.

He stood there taller than the doorway, looming warily, his already oppressive aura redoubling again unbidden by the metal door. Despite knowing that he wouldn't do her any harm her body instinctively tried to shrink away from it but the straps holding her were strong, far stronger than she was. "Stop it!" she whimpered.

The oppressiveness stopped and she let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and watched several small shadows flood the room. They surrounded her and then began attacking the chair, thrusting out sharp spear-like lines of shadows at a thunderous speed. A cacophony of blows hit her chair and slowly, ever so slowly she felt herself being able to move more freely. Whatever these straps were made of, they were strong, she'd watched one of these shadows' attacks pierce steel and leather, the fact that they were struggling against her prison meant she was never going to get out of this by herself.

She eyed Suzuki, he didn't speak or even step into the room to help the shadows, what was he afraid of? This wasn't like- she chastised herself, this was exactly something he would do — he's being paranoid.

When she looked at the facts it made sense – his companion left inside an odd room, tied to a chair with incredibly strong straps – he probably thought it was a trap.

"Are you alright?" Suzuki finally asked, sounding unsure.

"I could be better…" she said, surprised by the tired meekness of her own voice.

"Before I left, what did I say to you?"

It was an odd question but he was being paranoid. So gathering what strength she had left, she answered. "You told me to eat and that you were unsure what would happen tomorrow."

He nodded, put one foot forward into the room, and grunted. A brightly glowing blue square suddenly appeared below her chair, and her loosening straps immediately regained strength. The door even reappeared and pushed Suzuki back outside.

"What happened?" She thought.

"Let's try something else then." She heard him say. The metal door again disappeared with a scream and Suzuki stepped forward but not into the room proper, his hand covered in a cloud of unnerving wispy black energy.

He stretched his hand forward and touched it to the inside wall of the room. Whatever it was it caused an immediate change, the color drained from the entire room and it began to shake violently, rumbling as if in pain. Looking down, the large blue square faded to a dull purple and then went dark entirely. The straps went lax, then loosened then they fell weakly from her wrists and ankles.

She felt a wave of exhaustion hit her as she stood and looked around the room. It was different, changed. Whereas it was gray-black before like that of granite now it was almost chalk white. Dead.

"Was it alive?" She asked tiredly, limping to the exit.

"It still is," Suzuki said, catching her as she fell into his arms. He pulled her into a carry like her father used to, one arm under her back and the other under the small of her legs. "When I stepped into it, it sapped a large chunk of stats from me so I returned the favor weakening it until it was almost dead, I think. I'm not exactly sure."

"Not sure…" she asked, closing her eyes. "What was it?"

"I'm not sure, I've never encountered anything like it but if I had to say definitively, perhaps some kind of mimic? [Gate]"

Raphtalia was able to look back along the long hallway before the familiar transfer of the portal washed over, bloody bodies littered its candle-lit length. She put it out of her mind and soon the warmth of her bed welcomed her.

The moment sleep took her he turned and walked down the stairs, paced across the large wooden floor, and opened the door. As he expected, Fitoria sat there on the golden step of her coach, surrounded by a flock of resting colorful filolials.

They stood up all at once, squawked in some equivalent of a terrified scream, and ran into the forest, sprinting in different directions. Fitoria looked up at him frustrated, and was she cringing?

"You're leaking." She said, her voice uncomfortable.

"My apologies," Ainz said, realizing that his information wall would not be enough for someone like her. He dismissed his gauntlet and dipped his bare hand into his inventory, retracting it with his ring re-equipped.

The unease instantly fell from her face and she paced forward. He moved to the side and waved her to the small lounging area where two wide black leather couches lay facing one another separated by a smooth obsidian glass-topped coffee table.

"Can I get you something, perhaps tea or something to eat while you wait?" he asked, pulling [kettle of endless tea] from his inventory. The question seemed to stun her, pausing for just a moment before she sat down.

"What do you mean while I wait?" She asked incredulously.

"After you left I realized that my spell did more damage to the city than I first thought. Most of the tower was vaporized, but what little remained fell back down onto the city as lava. I sent some summons to put out the fires and I promised to see the injured personally." He explained.

To his surprise she got up and walked closer, waiting. Understanding what she wanted he opened another [Gate], re-equipped his gauntlet, placed the kettle back, and they stepped through.

They stepped out into the ballroom they had left barely an hour earlier, the magic light which once filled it was gone and replaced with the dim light of flickering candles, and the white marble floor covered in the bodies of the injured and dying, smelled of wet pungent burnt flesh.

"You're using this for political gain aren't you?" Fitoria suddenly asked, stepping up beside him.

He eyed her and replied honestly. "Of course. If the King wishes to tarnish his already ruined reputation further, I don't see what the problem is when someone takes advantage of the situation. Plus my own reputation took a hit as well. I'm only trying to get what I can out of this mess."

She nodded, apparently finding his explanation reasonable. "You are here to heal them." She said, shifting her gaze across the packed room.

"Indeed," he replied and barely made it a step before he was approached by a perky noblewoman he recognized immediately. Purple dress, auburn hair, and healed bright green eyes, Lady Elena Khothar greeted him with an eager, thankful smile.

"You took your time." Elena said, "Father, thought you would come back here so he sent me to watch for you. He's waiting with the others in the dignitary room down the hall."

He nodded and she turned to Fitoria, bending over in a full elegant bow. "An honor to meet you, your Majesty."

Fitoria acknowledged the girls' display with a simple nod but otherwise said nothing. Elena recovered well, straightened fluidly with a twirl of her dress, and waved for them to follow.

He looked to the small girl beside him and she looked back questioningly, then to the room of injured. "I needed their help to organize the injured, in exchange I promised to heal them first."

She returned an understanding nod and they both paced after the woman. A short quiet walk later and they arrived at a white large double doorway engraved with intricate gold lines which wove their way up like a vine to circle what he always assumed to be the symbol of the Queendom. The loud voices of shouting echoed from behind it, most of it an incoherent mess but from what little he was able to make out they seemed to be arguing about succession and land titles.

"That is slightly concerning." He thought, unsure of just how many Noble's had died

"Do you want to be announced?" Elena asked, resting a delicate hand on the left side of the door.

He looked down at Fitoria, she shook her head. "No thank you, I'd rather get on with it, I'm not one for petty court theater," Ainz said.

Elena frowned but pushed the door open surprising those inside and causing the shouting to die instantly. The whole room looked at him all at once. No… Not him, they were looking past him to Fitoria who stood a few steps behind in the hallway.

Ainz stepped forward reaching behind his back and into his inventory. He pulled out a medium-sized leather bag which he reached into, sinking his arm impossibly up to the elbow, far past the shallowness of the item. The whole room, fifty sets of eyes, looked dumbfounded as he pulled back out with another bag identical to the first and placed it on the long white marble table at the center of the room, the first behind his back and into his inventory.

"This," Ainz said pointing at the [Bag of Holding], "Contains potions similar to the one which healed Lady Elena. I wish to speak with whoever was in charge of organizing the injured."

Rathmin stepped forward, apparently collecting himself enough to do so, a bead of sweat rolling down his forehead. "Yes?" he said.

"Tell me how they were organized?" Ainz demanded.

Rathmin looked to Fitoria, then back to him. He seemed to be confused about something… "Maybe about who he should be addressing?" Ainz thought, then sighed, and decided to answer their concerns, speaking loudly to the whole room. "Lady Fitoria is not here on official business, but to observe me. The being I summoned today during the wave caused no uncertain amount of concern for herself and her flock, I would suggest going about your business and pretending she is not here."

The crowd of Noble's looked to Fitoria. She gave them a small nod, turned, and walked ways down the hallway to sit on a small padded bench. Now out of sight, a visible wave of relief and released tension passed through the room.

"Good enough?" Ainz asked.

Rathmin nodded curtly and spoke. "We did as you asked and sorted them into specific groups, as you saw we brought the most injured inside, filling three rooms, the ballroom, the queen's courtroom, and another room similar to this one. Those with minor burns and scrapes were commanded to stay outside and told they would be seen at a later time."

"I see," Ainz said. "Have you any news about the whereabouts of Altcrey?"

"No, my lord. Though I- we suspect he to be secluding himself inside the cathedral at the behest of Lord Bulmus."

Ainz nodded and turned to leave, and as he did so he sent one of the demons hiding in his shadow to watch over the bag. Losing one of those items, no matter how many he had, would be a blow he wouldn't be able to recover from for some time. "I expect that bag to be there when I return." He announced walking out and turning to walk back towards the ballroom.

He didn't need to turn around to know that Fitoria was immediately in his shadow. "You're not what I expected…" she said.

"And what were you expecting? Some monster who commits atrocities because someone slightly inconvenienced him?" He asked, stopping to look at her.

Her face flushed, then she nodded with an expression of guilt. "Though, that's not what I meant." She quickly added.

"Oh? Explain." He said.

"You act like a King." She said, then looked down the hallway. Yes, he'd sensed them too, they had an eavesdropper.

"Do you mind if we continue like this?" He asked with [Message], continuing the walk.

{This will be fine} she replied, and he felt a bit of surprise. It wasn't the message spell he knew, it felt different, more… pure? Telepathy? His mental shields hadn't triggered so he pushed back the sudden bout of panic and continued the conversation.

["I am a King, Emperor technically."]

{A good one I hope.} She said, as he stepped forward and pushed the large ballroom doors open.

[I would like to think so.] He replied entering. They were immediately set upon by one of the castle's maids. She would have been beautiful were it not for her tear-washed makeup, frazzled auburn hair, and the front of her black and white dress wet with patches of pale red blood. If she was carrying a bloody kitchen knife she would have almost matched one of the undead event summons he knew of.

"Sir Suzuki, I'm glad you're here! Lady Elena sent me away while she waited for you! I've done what I could in the meantime but it's just too much!" She exclaimed, her voice ragged with stress, face flush with exhaustion.

He gave her a respectful nod and spoke a single word. [Sleep] Her body immediately went limp, falling into his arms.

After placing the woman on a bed roll he created with [create item] he moved to the closest of the patients and pulled out a potion of purple coloration, tipping it onto him. A green light washed over the man and the pus-leaking burn down the side of his face and across his chest and arm began to reknit into spotless white skin. Nodding to himself he turned and found that Fitoria was eyeing him.


"You're too flagrant." She said,

"And here I thought I was being rather conservative." He said, voice jovial.

She frowned but otherwise said nothing so he continued healing the wounded, some even managing to get up and leave showering him in thanks. They both continued in relative silence for several minutes until they reached the final and so far most injured person in the room, almost all of her body was scared and burned, hair and skin melting from her skull and a large char black hole in her left shoulder where a bit of molten tower had presumably melted through it.

He honestly didn't know how she was still alive, from the wounds he assumed one of her lungs had collapsed and cooked that entire side of her body, but her chest was rising slowly but surely. The will to live was strong in this one.

Taking out a red, he popped the small cork on the small vial and poured the contents onto the woman, her skin reknit, her shoulder popped locking back into place and the melted skin of her head weaved back together with beautiful shortcut black hair growing out a moment later.

"I expected you to be asking more questions." He finally said, leaving the side of the unconscious woman and pacing to the main door.

"I'm thinking." She said, following along beside him.

"About?" He asked and received a slight shake of the head. "Okay, don't want to talk about it then. Fine."

"What are the waves? Who is behind them and what is their objective?" He asked, if she wasn't going to, he would.

She looked up at him and nodded for some reason. "The waves," she said, voice hard. "Are complicated."

["And?"} He asked through [message] pushing the door open and sending a demon ahead to find the two other rooms full of injured. He received confirmation a moment later that the next one was just a short walk away and stepped toward it.

{"They are a side effect of another world colliding with this one."}

["I see,"] he said, taking the information at face value. ["And the monsters that come from the rifts?]

{"I'm unsure exactly. They do not come from the impacting world of that I am certain, but rather the space between them."}

He hummed in dismay, if what she said was true his planned experiment to cast [dimensional lock] on one of the rifts wouldn't work. The spell blocked teleportation, not tears in the fabric of reality. In fact, nothing he did short of using something like [Five Elements Overcoming] would have an effect, so he was stuck here doing it the slow way.

["What happens if we fail to stop the waves."] He asked, turning right and approaching his destination.

{"The world dies."}

They approached the door, and Ainz noted a woman sitting off the side in an arched alcove. Unlike the first maid who seemed to care for the wounded, this one sat primly with no hint of concern or stains of blood upon her dress. Her blond hair done in a ponytail swung behind her head as she heard their approach and any hint of the proper attitude she wore fled only to be replaced by a scowl of disgust.

["I see, nothing favorable then."] He said ignoring the maid and moving past her. He did however see the symbol of the three heroes' church which hung around her neck. The moment he glanced at her, her hands shot to the ornate silver cross and clung onto it for dear life.

He merely scoffed and pushed the door open, Fitoria following in. Inside, he locked the door and took a quick count of the bodies. "Forty-one…" He said quietly.

Shaking his head, he commanded the

twelve demons in his shadow to leave and line up neatly before him, he then opened his inventory wide and dumped an assortment of eighty-two potions onto the floor, an even mix of red and purples.

They each took six, three of each kind, and bobbed in what he had always assumed to be a bow before moving off to heal the people.

Fitoria watched as the last of them left. "Aren't you giving away too much?" She asked, looking at him distrustfully.

"Please, I knew you'd already sensed them," Ainz said. "Your eyes would flick to them each time they made an abnormal move."

He sighed. "I do not wish to fight you, Fitoria. It is the last thing I want to do. My goal is to go home and not spend another second with these petulant people and their frankly retarded politics."

"So why don't you take over?" She asked, eyes flicking to the slit of his helm.

Ainz looked at her with surprise. "Would you let me?" He asked in return. He had no desire to actually do so but was curious about the answer. The mere fact that she would ask such a thing meant there was an intent behind it.

She shrugged. "It's not important to me, I don't care who rules this country but at the moment Melromarc's king is actively hampering your– the hero's development."

"Oh? What do you mean by that?" He asked, taking the obvious bait, she clearly wanted to turn the conversation in this direction.

"Melromarc is not the only country to suffer the waves, they appear all over the continent," Fitoria said, then suddenly turned, alerted by the green light of healing as it began flashing through the room.

"I gathered as much, but I'm sure you can understand why I haven't moved on."

She glared at him. Apparently not.

"From what I understand of it the surrounding countries worship the shield hero to an almost fanatical degree. I've dealt with fanatics before within my own religion so I am loath to do so with another." Ainz said.

"You have a religion?!" She asked, shocked.

"I do," Ainz lamented. "I once revived a girl and saved her country from a demonic invasion. Had I known that forty or so years later she would become the leader of a religious cult that spans a continent and one of the most powerful humans alive, I would have stopped myself. Simply having a conversation with any of them can be such a pain, especially her."

Movement caught his eye as one of the demons returned, sinking back into his shadow and leaving three red bottles at his feet, "Good it wasn't that one." He thought. He'd been watching all the demon's progress carefully trying to spot the body he knew wouldn't be getting back up, and eventually, it came when the eleventh returned carrying three empty bottles – two purples and a red.

"Fitoria," Ainz asked, looking at her.

She snapped out of her thoughts and met his eyes. "What?" She said,

["Within this world's magic system, is it possible to bring someone back from the dead?"] He asked in a message not wanting those conscious around him to hear.

{"Not that I am aware of."} She replied.

He nodded and instructed the demon to take him to the corpse, Fitoria following curiously. Before, when he'd killed those bandits he hadn't even thought to revive one of them, he'd simply turned them into death knights.

The corpse of the man he found was not unlike the dark-haired woman he healed in the other room, burns scarred the entirety of his body, an arm missing just below the elbow, and a large piece of chard timber that stuck out of the right side of his chest by several inches. His eyes stared open, looking up at the roof. Dead.

Kneeling, Ainz reached down and retched the piece of wood from the man's chest with a meaty crack, breaking ribs with its exit. He discarded the large bloody splinter then reached into his inventory and pulled out a long white wooden wand that glowed with a faint golden light along the intricate carvings of its length.

["Reviving the dead in my world is commonplace, as long as you can afford it."]

{"You charge money to revive the dead?"}

["No, the church does, fifth tier magic casters can be very rare."]

She silently gave him a confused look.

["Somewhere between Zweite and Drifa-class, if I were to give it an equivalent approximation."]

{"Is it that easy?"} she asked, intrigued.

["Easy, no. Even if a magic caster is capable of casting fifth-tier magic it doesn't mean that they can automatically cast the spell, it requires a specific class of caster, similar to magic affinities here, that being paladin or cleric. Even then it requires years of training, a pledge of worship to their god, and something of value, usually in the form of high-quality gems."] He explained then held the wand up near her face, "And this takes all that and throws it out the window."

She rolled her eyes and gave him an amused smile.

He turned back to the corpse and touched the wand to the man's head. He cast [Raise Dead] with a whisper and holy golden light exploded in violent brilliance for the barest of moments before it and the man's body fossilized turning to ash an instant later. "Umu, that's new." He said in wonder.

"What happened?" Fitoria asked.

"It worked, which is why the wand disintegrated, but at the last moment, he rejected it. Though it is odd that the body turned to ash." He shrugged, and got up, turning to the door. "I'll add it to the list of oddities of this world."

As he passed the stack of potions, he opened his inventory wide and passed it over the small pyramid with a casual wave of his arm, sucking all of them in.

The twelfth demon entered his shadow as he popped the lock on the door and strode out. The maid was still sitting there in her alcove, eyes wide, stunned. "She's been listening."

He and Fitoria walked past her without a word and for whatever reason, their passing seemed to break something in the woman as she quickly curled into a ball, arms over knees, and started rocking back and forth on her rear, whimpering.

When they were around the corner, their tail finally presented themselves. She stood there back against the wall, unlike any of the queen's shadows he had met before. Compared to the ones who liked to hide their gender behind excessive amounts of dark fabric, this one's display of femininity was flagrant, almost to the point of being lewd and the most impressive part was that she managed to pull it off barely showing any skin. For the most part, her outfit consisted of tight black leather that accentuated her very modest chest and hips, leaving her shoulders, neck, jaw, and auburn hair exposed with her nose, eyes, and forehead covered by the typical back mask they all seem to wear.

"I feel like I should cover Fitoria's eyes."

"You have put me in a very difficult position this night, Lord Suzuki." The woman said, unimpressed.

"Oh? Not as much as I suspect lord Aultcray has, my Lady."

She sighed and stood, waving for them to continue. "In any case what are your plans?" She asked, falling into step behind them.

"Once I am done here and finished with those outside I intend to confront the king and cardinal. I assume you acquired the same information from Beloukas that the Cardinal and church has."

She hesitated but after a moment replied. "We did."

"Good, then you know that the counter spell that was triggered tonight wasn't the one I originally had tied to my observation protections."

"Yes, if I recall his words, he said it was more destructive…"

"It would have turned this castle, the mount it sits on, and a large portion of the city into a crater had it been cast in the same spot as tonight," Ainz said, probably shocking the shadow as she paused in her steps.

"That would mean…" she said, catching back up.

"That the Cardinal is either underestimating the words "more destructive" or this was his intent, it was probably both, but what's the point in it? It can't just ruin my reputation."

"Most likely killing all the nobles who opposed him, while also blaming it all on you," Fitoria concluded.

"I see," he said, looking at the shadow. "How many of the nobles in attendance tonight opposed the king?"

"Almost all of them… most of his supporters left earlier in the night, those that stayed were either out of favor, or useless." The shadow said.

"I suspect it may have also been an attempt to kill me. Once I and Fitoria left they probably panicked and triggered it regardless of whether I was there or not, I suspect killing me was a secondary objective and more of a plan to discredit me further after what I did at the wave. It was a stupid plan."


"Because it wouldn't have worked." He replied flatly, finally approaching the throne room's door.

Inside, the injured were lined up in six neat rows to either side of the large red carpet that stretched the room's length. It didn't take long to recognize that they were all demi-humans. Ainz shrugged and commanded the shadow demons out to repeat the process once again.

"What the!" The woman exclaimed, jumping to the side and away from them.

"Pay them no mind." He said, opening his inventory, dumping more vials on the ground, and continued speaking. "When I last talked with one of you, the Queen's position on the king was displeasure, may I assume that this is no longer the case?"

"She is quite furious," The shadow said, fixing herself and eyeing the demons as they worked about the room. "He has not only displeased the surrounding countries with his treatment of you but also managed to reverse years of work in the lower city and demi-human regions driving them into further poverty with his martial law command."

"I see," Ainz said, watching as the room began flashing with green light. "How would she like to fix the issue?"

"She wishes to return home, but that isn't possible. What are you suggesting?"

"Something drastic. How many of you are in the city?"

"This wasn't what was supposed to happen!" Aultcrey yelled into the face of the man who had ruined him. How could he let himself be led on by this man? He was Aultcrey Melromarc the thirty-second! One of the greatest strategic minds on the planet, he'd fought in wars that saw the destruction of entire countries and commanded troops that numbered in the tens of thousands, how could he have let this happen?

He had wanted the shield devil dead and with it so his daughter freed from the incarceration of her paralyzed flesh, but not at the loss of the people –noble and peasants alike that had supported him against the devil of the shield and his tyranny.

The plan had been simple as the cardinal had explained it, use the devil's power against itself to kill it and attack the city driving the people back to his side, transforming the ill-gotten image of a hero into what was meant to be; a devil, a demon who would attack those it was meant to protect, for it could be nothing but. The secondary objective, that of trimming a few of his political adversaries which would have secured his rule until his love Merelia returned, was just a bonus, it would have been nice but he didn't particularly care for it. Normally they would not have been able to achieve how to do this without the use of a group ritual, but blessedly the fool had given them the means by which to do so.

Yes, he was sure they would have returned to his side had it not just gone up in smoke, the devil had made sure of that this night as it had somehow spoken into the minds of seemingly everyone in the city through unknown means proclaiming his innocence, taking with it any chance of this all working out in his favor. He shivered in profane disgust merely remembering that things vile voice speaking in his mind.

"I am just as surprised as you my Lord," The cardinal said, rising from his seat across from Aultcrey and pacing slowly over to the window that looked out onto the city, orange light from the nearby burning houses casting him in an unholy luminance.

"It will come for us," Aultcrey said, eyeing the man.

"Most certainly." The man replied without turning. "My question, to you my Lord, is what is it you wish to do about it?"

"Me?" Aultcrey queried. "You misunderstand Lord Cardinal. We were the ones who ordered what happened, so we will face what comes, together."

The man deflated visibility, turned, and spoke with a flat expression and tone. "Yes, of course, my Lord."

"We do not like this Lord Suzuki," The shadow said as he stood and waved goodbye to the child he had just healed. It had been two hours since he, Fitoria, and the junior shadow had left the confines of the Melromarc castle to heal the remaining injured of the city.

"If it means anything, neither do I, but we agree something must be done. This city is ready to burst." Ainz replied, beginning his walk back up the road toward the castle. "I understand your unease, but leaving someone as unstable as Aultcrey in command will inevitably drive this country to the breaking point at which point I expect the church will do something stupid, much more so than tonight's festivities."

"But for us to rule? It seems unnecessary. Could we simply not wait until her majesty returns?"

"Do you know when that will be?"

The shadow remained quiet until about a minute later they spoke. "We do not wish to be presumptuous lord Suzuki, but we expected you to take over once you inevitably tired of Lord Aultcrey's meddling."

"No." He replied flatly. "I will repeat what I said to Fitoria earlier tonight. I do not care for this country, the only reason I have remained thus far is that the other options are far worse. I intervene tonight because I believe he or the church, possibly both will attempt to do something of this nature again. Placing you in charge is simply a preventative measure."

"I see, I'm unsure how to respond to that. We were afraid that you would be drawn to Siltvelts promiscuous proclivities towards the shield hero."

He stopped, turned, and looked into the mask of the shadow then began to laugh. His amusement lasted but a few moments as his suppressor killed it with the effectiveness of a devastating backhand. "Hardly," he replied, continuing on the path up, the crowd parting before them. "You are all nobles in the queen's service, if you don't know how the game is played, I suspect that the country would have fallen to infighting long before I showed up. If anyone is to rule in the interim it should be you."

"Then what of the church? Surely they will not sit idle and let this happen?"

"After tonight, they should be of little concern, at least for a little while. They don't know what my connection to Fitoria is and will be hesitant to commit any significant force while this little coup happens, at least until they find what they are looking for, something called the Cardinal Replica."

"Shit." The shadow exclaimed and paced up beside him walking in step. "We will surely divert our resources to impede them at once."

"I suppose it would be a good idea, for the moment what is your plan to rial up this city?"

"What? Surely you're not serious? Why would you… the other heroes."

Ainz nodded, "Inept fools they may be, but if my assumption is correct they do want to act the part of the heroes from the fairy tales. Once they see the angry crowd approaching, I expect them to do one of two things: attack or join them."

The shadow nodded. "And what of lord Aultcray? We do not expect he will sit by and let his throne be taken from him."

"What else is he supposed to do? His back is broken. His people despise him and only the most blind of his soldiers will fight for him. Taking this city will be easy."

"That is not what we are worried about." They paused. "We will confine him to his room until her majesty's return, however long that may be, but if he heals in the meantime we do not expect to live much longer."

Ainz paused again to look at the shadow skeptically, noting the orange pulsing 83 that floated above their head. "He's a little strong I suppose, but surely you and your companions will have no issues with comba–

"He is the staff Hero, Lord Suzuki."

Anger raged inside him at the revelation, if they had heroes already why was he brought here? For what reason was he taken from his life if- "My lord, we have found someone that may be of interest to your esteemed self." 1 said through a message.

"We are not done with this conversation." He growled, pointing an accusatory finger at the shadow's chest and put his other hand to his temple.

"Speak!" he demanded.

Tonight was going to be a long night.

Well… it's been a while, almost six months by my count, safe to say that it won't be that long to the next one, I've got six thousand words down on that one so it should hopefully be out in the next few weeks to months. Yes I know I'm slow but my motivation to do any writing is slowly twiddling down and I can't for the life of me figure out why, I've tried writing other stories besides this one like Halo X Destiny, Jujitsu Kiesen X Overlord (11000 words on this one), even a standalone Overlord story but like I said the motivation just isn't there, I want to write them, I really do but… sigh. You guys don't need to listen to my rambling. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, if you did, leave a review I read every single one. C'ya next time.